india vs guam
The Indian National Team sing the National Anthem in Guam before their previous Russia 2018 World Cup qualifier matchAIFF Media

Expect fireworks when the India face Iran – the highest-ranked Asian team in the FIFA rankings as of July 2015 – in a Russia 2018 World Cup Preliminary Joint Qualification game.

The match is slated to be held on 8 September at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium in Bangalore – home of I-League side Bengaluru FC.

India are drawn alongside Oman, Iran, Guam, and Turkmenistan in Group D of the World Cup qualifiers.

Looking ahead to the big game against the 38th ranked Iran, India coach Stephen Constantine, in an effort to field the best possible team, announced a list of 28 probables who will be taking part in a preparatory camp in Pune from 23 August.

And just prior to the World Cup qualifier against Iran, Constantine's side will play a friendly against Nepal on 31 August at the Balewadi Stadium in Pune.

"The players would be coming after a layoff and the match would help us judge them ahead of our tough challenge against Iran which is slated on September 8," Constantine was quoted.

India went down 15 places in the latest FIFA rankings to slump down to 156th in the World, after they lost both their previous World Cup qualifiers against Oman and Guam.

While they lost 2-1 to Oman at home on 11 June, they tasted a similar defeat against Guam in an away game on 16 June.

Sunil Chhetri remained the solitary goalscorer for India in both games.

Apart from Chhetri, Constantine has picked the likes of Pritam Kotal, Sandesh Jhingan, Saumik Dey, Jackichand Singh, and Eugeneson Lyngdoh once again – who were awarded their senior national team debut this year.

Also, the 28-member squad includes as many as five goalkeepers.

Constantine stressed the use of PIOs (Player of Indian Origins) to represent the national side in the international games, and the AIFF have also come out to bat for the same. The call was made after Guam fielded as many as six players of US origin in their game on 16 June, and were the better side in all departments.

The 28-Member Probables for the game against Iran:

Goalkeepers: Subrata Paul, Karanjit Singh, Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, Arindam Bhattacharya, Sanjiban Ghosh.

Defenders: Arnab Mondal, Sandesh Jhingan, Aiborlang Khongjee, Dhanachandra Singh, Lalchhuanmawia, Narayan Das, Rino Anto, Pritam Kotal.

Midfielders: Dhanapal Ganesh, Eugenson Lyngdoh, Cavin Lobo, Sehnaj Singh, Jackichand Singh, Pronoy Halder, Brandon Fernandes, Francis Fernandes, CK Vineeth, Rowlin Borges, Romeo Fernandes.

Forwards: Holicharan Narzary, Jeje Lalpekhlua, Robin Singh, Sunil Chhetri.

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